Life was never a bed of roses for Sharad Sadadekar, CISO, HDFC Life. It has been a roller coaster ride with several hardships in the early days. After completing his B.E. (Electronics) in 1993 it was a tough time for him finding a suitable job, which came as a rather rude shock. He eventually got through this tough phase of life and thus started his technology career as a customer support engineer with a leading networking firm. Sadadekar then went on to work on Mainframe and UNIX platforms which helped him in his career. However, he soon realized the importance of education and certification for growth. Not only did he complete his MBA in “Information Management” in 2007, he also started adding certifications to his portfolio.
“Then I was offered the position to lead information security in my current organization and the rest is history. Opportunities keep knocking but one has to be ready to grab those with both hands,” says Sadadekar.
Build Digital Resilience in the Business Ecosystem
Data is giving rise to a new economy. Privacy, security and trust, all are increasingly at risk in this data-driven society. Moreover, data privacy is becoming more about controlling how data is used while cyber security is focusing more on preventing data manipulation and destruction that could undermine trusted systems. Customers are now more knowledgeable and demanding. Sadadekar believes that as organizations head for a digital future, there is a need for building digital resilience in the business ecosystem. He takes a wholesome view of the various stakeholders in the cyber security landscape.
“Customers are naturally concerned about personal data management, security and privacy while the company board and CEOs are worried about business threats due to cyber attacks resulting in loss of data,” he says.
He adds that CISOs must establish clear standards on data ownership, data privacy and protection and cross-border data flows as regulators are under constant pressure to protect customer interest and reduce fraud. CISOs and Data Privacy Officers must attain deep visibility into the entire network and security environment.
“Data is the new soil: Preserve, protect and cultivate it. A current challenge, which most CISOs face is that there is no visibility within the network or security environment. To improve one has to know the exact processes. They must build confidence and trust in the fabric of digital operation for sustenance and growth. They must be aware of business cyber risks and the ability to assess threats that could affect business goals and be able to respond and recover with minimum impact,” says Sadadekar.
Cyber Security Is at the Heart of Businesses Today
Cyber security has to be woven into the business ecosystem model—enabling digital trust and delivering on the brand promise. Sadadekar’s advice to CISOs and CIOs is that they should keep pace with the evolving technology as well as the veracity and velocity of data flow. They should build technology resilience to recover in the case of crisis and they need to build risk appetite and recovery objectives to suit specific business circumstances.
“NextGen cyber risk and data privacy is not only about surviving but thriving. A cyber risk management strategy is at the heart of business,” he adds.
Talking about the future of cyber security in this age of digital transformation and automation, Sadadekar says that traditional approaches may not help to scale so it’s important to consider innovative technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning and Robotics to bring efficiency and agility.